The latest Ipsos MORI poll reported in The Observer today shows that Labour has fallen back by five points to 32 per cent since mid-November. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have gone up by three percentage points to 43 and 15 per cent respectively.
However, a higher proportion of the public trusts the Prime Minister and the Chancellor in the current crisis than trusts David Cameron and George Osborne (46 per cent to 33 per cent). On the issue of which team would be the best to run the country after the next election they are level pegging at 39 per cent.
On careful analysis the Darling package is flawed in a number of respects and is hardly likely to provide much of a stimulus to the economy despite its cost. Equally, the Conservatives have been relatively flat footed in the crisis, particularly in terms of spelling out an effective constructive alternative.
For the first time this year, the PSA Awards were televised (albeit at an obscure time on the BBC Parliament Channel) and the Parliamentarian of the Year award justifiably went to Vince Cable. Dr Cable, who is an economist by origin (but one with extensive business experience), is listened to with respect in the Commons on economics and financial issues because he has been proved right so often.
It was therefore quite alarming to hear him predict that the effects of the present systemic banking crisis may be felt for many years to come. I do not doubt that he is right. Rather one engaging in a blame game, what is really needed is to plot a credible forward course.